A Twelve-Pack of Important Pac-12 Newcomers

Posted by Andrew Murawa on November 2nd, 2015

At this time of year, it is easiest to get excited about the unknown. We have some idea what to expect from players like Jakob Poeltl and Josh Scott and Bryce Alford and Elgin Cook, but the new guys in their new environments? The sky’s the limit. Below we’ll count down our picks for the 12 guys in a conference of 12 teams who have us most intrigued heading into the season.

12. Bennie Boatwright, Freshman, USC – The Trojans’ offense was abysmal last season. There are plenty of things that need to happen for that to change, but Boatwright’s ability to fill it up from deep could provide an immediate boost. He averaged 27.8 PPG as a high school senior, knocking in eight threes in a single game two separate times.

Bennie Boatwright Getting Ready To Bomb From Deep - Get Used To That Sight (Photo by Kelly Kline/adidas)

Bennie Boatwright Getting Ready To Bomb From Deep – Get Used To That Sight (Kelly Kline/adidas)

11. Lorenzo Bonam, Junior, Utah – Just one of many candidates on the Utah roster to help ease the post-Delon Wright transition, Bonam averaged 16.5 points, 6.8 boards and 3.4 assists per game last season at Gillette College in Wyoming. In his Huntsman Center unveiling last month, he had 16 points in about 32 minutes of action.

10. Dejounte Murray, Washington – On a team loaded with new faces, Murray is the most highly regarded of them. He was the 2015 Washington boy’s high school basketball Player of the Year after averaging 25.0 points and 12.4 boards per game, while notching 24 double-doubles and 14 triple-doubles on the season.

9. Chris Boucher, Junior, Oregon – Last year’s National Junior College Player of the Year, the 6’10” Quebecker is a force to be reckoned with up front. He averaged 22.5 points and 11.8 boards per game last season, including one where he triple-doubled with 32/12 along with 11 blocked shots. Paired with Jordan Bell, last year’s conference leader in blocks, the Ducks have the making of an intimidating front line.

8. Josh Fortune, Junior, Colorado – The leading returning three-point shooter expected to play this season for the Buffaloes (Tre’Shaun Fletcher) made 22 treys last season while playing roughly half of his team’s possible minutes. That makes this season a perfect time to welcome Fortune, who made 56 threes at Providence in 2013-14 before sitting out as a transfer last season in Boulder. As an added bonus on a team with question marks at the point, Fortune is not just a bomber. He averaged a couple assists per game as a sophomore and is a solid perimeter defender.

Josh Fortune's Three-Point Shooting Will Be Important For The Buffaloes

Josh Fortune’s Three-Point Shooting Will Be Important For The Buffaloes. (Getty)

7. Tyler Dorsey, Freshman, Oregon – Dorsey exploded over the summer as a member of the Greek U-19 National Team, earning all-tournament honors after averaging 15.9 points and 5.0 boards per game. While capable of playing either guard spot, he’ll probably spend most of his time this season off the ball thanks to the presence of another Oregon newcomer whom we’ll get to shortly.

6. Stephen Thompson Jr., Freshman, Oregon State – The Beavers climbed to a surprising seventh-place finish last season on the strength of the nation’s 16th-best defense. That should tell you all you need to know about the struggles of their offense (280th in the nation). Luckily for Wayne Tinkle, reinforcements have arrived, highlighted by the son of assistant coach Stephen Thompson. The younger Thompson put on a show in the team’s intrasquad scrimmage last week, dialing in 18 points in the game’s first 10 minutes before winding up with 28 total, including five threes. As a senior in high school, Thompson averaged 24.4 points, 5.2 assists and 4.8 boards per game.

5. Jonah Bolden, Freshman, UCLA – This is Bolden’s second season in Westwood but he spent last year watching from the bench as a partial qualifier. Now fully eligible, Bolden will be a huge part of the Bruins’ frontcourt. In UCLA’s exhibition game last week, the 6’10” Aussie notched 11 points and 11 boards in 27 minutes. He can play either forward spot and, given his combination of size and ball skills, can create mismatches inside or out. Throw in a great basketball IQ and passing ability and plenty of UCLA’s offense can run through the freshman.

4. Ivan Rabb, Freshman, Cal – After leading Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School to the state championship last season, Rabb made the local folks happy and chose Cuonzo Martin’s program over other suitors like Kentucky, Kansas and Arizona. Rated as the fifth-best prospect in the 2015 class by Scout, Rabb averaged 24.5 points, 16.3 boards and 4.5 blocks per game as a senior. His commitment to the local school was just the first big-time score for Cal this offseason and his ability to dominate in the paint will pair nicely with the tremendous amount of perimeter talent elsewhere on this roster.

Ivan Rabb's Signing With California Opened The Door For A Potentially Great Season (AP)

Ivan Rabb’s Signing With California Opened The Door For A Potentially Great Season. (AP)

3. Ryan Anderson, Senior, Arizona – After starting his career in three seasons at Boston College, Anderson spent last year as a transfer watching the Wildcats’ Elite Eight season. Now with guys like Stanley Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Brandon Ashley all gone, Anderson is expected to slide into the starting lineup alongside senior Kaleb Tarczewski to provide immediate punch. In his last season, Anderson averaged 14.3 points and 7.3 boards per game. On a team trying to make up for missing last year’s top four scorers and three of its top four rebounders, Anderson is a perfect fit.

2. Dylan Ennis, Senior, Oregon – A graduate transfer from Villanova, Ennis will step into the starting point guard spot for Dana Altman’s Ducks. After spending the past two seasons playing alongside Ryan Arcidiacano in Philly, Ennis is used to sharing backcourt duties with another ball-handler, so he should fit right into a talented and versatile backcourt. But make no mistake, as a senior point guard hoping to prove himself for the next level, Oregon will be Ennis’ team.

1. Jaylen Brown, Freshman, Cal – Cuonzo Martin already had a nice recruiting class after Rabb committed to the Golden Bears. When Brown committed a few weeks later, the program had hit the recruiting equivalent of a home run. Brown is a power wing who is expected to be a high lottery pick in next June’s NBA Draft. He averaged 28 points and 12 boards as a senior in high school, and opened up his performance in Haas Pavilion by pouring in 19 points in the team’s scrimmage on Friday night. On a roster already loaded with talented perimeter guys like Tyrone Wallace, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews, Brown is immediately the guy with the most game. But he’ll need to prove his ability to mesh his talents with his teammates and he’ll be called upon to do plenty of dirty work on the defensive end. If Brown can balance his aggressive individual style of play with the team’s overall goals, it could truly be a special season in Berkeley.

AMurawa (999 Posts)

Andrew Murawa Likes Basketball.

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